Psychotherapy in a neoliberal world

Article


Rustin, M. 2015. Psychotherapy in a neoliberal world. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. 17 (3), pp. 225-239.
AuthorsRustin, M.
Abstract

The neoliberal regime has significant consequences for the psychotherapies. In particular, the idea that individuals is deserving of support from society and government when they need it – for example in managing the inevitable stresses of the life cycle – is being displaced by an ideology of total individual responsibility. Psychotherapies framed around relational conceptions of the self find themselves particularly out of key with this dominant way of thinking. Governmental approaches to developmental needs become more instrumental, measurement-oriented and ‘disciplinary’ in this situation. Market incentives and disciplinary sanctions are introduced to ensure that institutions and their personnel conform to governmental directives. There is pressure on psychotherapists to adapt to this instrumentalised environment to survive. However, ‘expressive individualisation’ was also stimulated by the cultural liberation of the 1960s, and survives alongside the ‘possessive individualism’ of neoliberalism. This alternative culture has not been entirely suppressed, and therapies continue to be sought which offer the possibility of self-understanding and growth, although the pressure is for such therapies to become luxury goods. What is at risk under neoliberalism is the idea that society should support the self-development and self-understanding of all its citizens, as an aspect of a modern kind of democratic citizenship.

JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling
Journal citation17 (3), pp. 225-239
ISSN1469-5901
1364-2537
Year2015
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13642537.2015.1059869
Publication dates
Print18 Sep 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Jan 2016
Accepted22 May 2015
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling on 18.09.15, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13642537.2015.1059869
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